Missed the Boat on Bitcoin? More Cryptocurrencies Await

If you are worried you've missed out on making millions by betting on bitcoin, don't worry: there will be plenty more bizarre, borderline-incomprehensible digital bubbles in the future, and their value is only going to go up (until it all comes crashing down, that is). Here are five assets each competing to be the next bitcoin.

Ethereum

If there is a reason beyond market exuberance for the latest boom in bitcoin's price -- $16,900 (£12,600) as I write this, though who knows what it will be when you read it -- then it is Ethereum. It is hard to buy Ethereum directly, so most investors trade currency for bitcoin, then bitcoin for Ethereum, meaning a spike in interest in the latter helped revive the former.

Ethereum, which was launched in 2015, allows users to build "decentralized applications," spending tokens called "ether" to buy processing power on computers run by other members of the network. Those applications can offer anything from file storage to financial services or simple games, all in a way that is impossible for any centralized authority to shut them down.

CryptoKitties

One of the oddest Ethereum projects in operation, CryptoKitties is a three-way cross between Tamagotchis, Beanie Babies and animal husbandry. Users can buy, sell and breed the eponymous cats, with traits inherited down the generations. The CryptoKitties network is responsible for 11% of all traffic on Ethereum, according to one report. A new ?EU?gen0?EU? cat is born every 15 minutes, which the company auctions off, and it also takes a cut of all other CryptoKittie sales. The typical cat sells for about $4 these days, but a few of the rarer cats -- particularly those descended from some of the oldest bloodlines -- are worth many times that. The most expensive CryptoKitty sold to date, Founder Cat #18,...

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